Swims Entire Third Mainland Bridge to Raise Suicide Awareness

Dare Akinrodoye, a Nigerian pro swimmer has swam the entire 11-kilometre length of the Lagos third mainland bridge to raise awareness about mental health issues common among youths.

Known as Coach Dreh, the swimming instructor embarked on a daring mission on the morning of Saturday, March 30, 2024. With his close teammates, supporters, members of the press, and crucial medical staff by his side, Coach Dreh plunged into the water at approximately 9:28 am. He swam continuously for 2 hours and 33 minutes, accomplishing his journey.

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Upon being pulled out of the water, Coach Dreh appeared physically drained yet radiated a sense of fulfilment. Before his endeavour, he had met with Mobolaji Ogunlende, the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, who expressed the government’s backing for Coach Dreh’s noble cause.

Before embarking on his journey, Coach Dreh had shared his intention on Instagram to offer support and guidance to those grappling with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide. He emphasized, “In a world where mental health struggles can feel isolating, we extend hope and a helping hand, demonstrating that no one is alone in their battle with mental health challenges and suicidal ideation.”

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Recent research published in 2021 revealed Nigeria as having the highest rate of depression in Africa, with the country ranking 15th globally in terms of suicide frequency. Shockingly, Nigeria, despite its large population, has less than 150 psychiatrists, leaving fewer than 10% of mentally ill individuals with access to necessary care. In 2023, Nigeria was identified as the fifth most suicide-prone nation globally, with approximately 15,000 out of every 100,000 cases of mental illness-related deaths worldwide.

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